loading
Picture of Industrial looking hanging media shelves
IMG_6762.JPG
We have a lot of media, and we needed a nice way to display it and make it accessible.  We also wanted something that would fit our design style.  Last criteria, it needed to be something that I can make.  While I am fairly handy, I am no cabinet maker.  This design allows for some slop :)

The main picture below shows eight shelves of six foot board.  This will hold a grand total of about 960 movies.  This is what I will be describing in this instructable.

The second picture is a five foot wide with six staggered shelves version.  While slightly more complicated, it should be easy to figure out after this instructable.

The basic idea is that I would use heavy duty hooks, steel cable, and wood shelves to build it (basically cheaper stuff that I can find at home depot).  The wire would fit into a groove that I cut and I would use a stopper fastener on the wire to keep it in place.

Keep in mind this is just hanging on the wall, and can move, so don't put anything really breakable on it.  Especially with little ones around.

Check out my other industrial shelves for a complete set: Equipment Shelves and TV Ledge

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Tools and Materials

I have a table saw, but you might be able to get by without one it you have a jig saw or are really accurate with a hand saw (a jig would probably help).  I don't have a drill press which would help, but obviously is not necessary.

Tools:
Pencil
Ruler
Compass
Tape Measure
Miter Saw (This could be replaced with a hand saw easily)
Dowel Kit (If you have a drill press, you don't need this)
Drill
Nice Sharp 3/8" drill bit
3/32" counter sink drill bit (for screw pilot hole drilling)
4" C-Clamps (Or just bar clamps)
Bar Clamps
Table Saw
Palm Sander (I love this sander for how easy it is to install the paper taut)
Sawhorses
Heavy Duty Wire Cutters
Level
Crimper (looks like bolt cutters, but instead of cutting, they crimp)

Materials:
Paper (for design and sketching)
1"x2"x1' Red Oak
1"x6"x6' Pine (with or without knots, up to you, or any other wood for that matter)
Screws of various sizes
150 Grit Sand Paper
Stain
Rags
about 38' of 3/32" steel cable
6 splicing fasteners for the steel cable
48 stopper fasteners for the steel cable
Heavy Duty Steel Hooks
Masking Tape


Step 2: Design and sketchs

Picture of Design and sketchs
installation.jpg
jigSketch.jpg
Tools:
Pencil
Ruler
Compass
High School Math... that I need to look up on the internet now.

Materials:
Paper
Eraser

First thing I always do is sit down and draw things out till I get something that makes sense, then I refine it and create more detailed drawings where needed.

Here are my refined drawings.  The first image is the board details.  Where I wanted to put the holes and cuts with measurements.  The there a 3/8" wide by 3/8" deep hole cut into the boards at six locations, four on each end and two in the middle.  Then I would cut a 1/8" line into the board so the wire will be able to slide in, and the stopper fastener can sit in the 3/8" hole.

I would probably change a few things from this drawing.  The holes/cuts on the end of the board were too close to the end, I had a couple break on me (although gluing them back on was fine).  Probably 3/4" to 1" from end of board would be better.

Second image is me calculating where to put the stopper fasteners on the steel cable.  A squared + B squared = C squared. 

VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure that the hooks are attached to a stud or top plate!  Doubtful it will stay up otherwise.

The last image is the jig I made so I could easily and consistently drill the 3/8" holes on the 1x6 board.  The wood with the 3/8" holes in it needs to be some kind of hard wood.  I just picked up a scrap piece of oak up from home depot.  It needs to be hard wood so it will hold its form longer.  If this was pine it would just get torn up very quickly.

Step 3: Build the Jig

Picture of Build the Jig
IMG_6705.JPG
IMG_6706.JPG
Tools:
Pencil
Tape Measure
Miter Saw (This could be replaced with a hand saw easily)
Drill
Dowel Kit (If you have a drill press, you don't need this)
Nice Sharp 3/8" drill bit
3/32" counter sink drill bit (for screw pilot hole drilling)
4" C-Clamps (Or just bar clamps)

Materials:
1"x2"x1' Red Oak
Scrap pieces of wood
1 1/4" Drywall Screws

I have learned from my brother that if you spend some time making a good jig it will save you time (and frustration) in the long run.  I am sure there could be a better way to do this, as I am still learning how to do jig's, but you get the idea.  You could skip this step and just do everything by hand, but it will be slower and less consistent.

Before creating the jig I first cut all the 1"x6" shelf boards down so they would be the same size on both length and width.  This is not 100% necessary, I just wanted to try and be more accurate.  Then working with these measurements I created the jig.

At this point I just followed my sketch.  I cut two pieces of scrap that would run along the long edges of the board.  Then I cut two crossing pieces that would attach the two edge pieces.  One of the crossing pieces will hold the oak piece while the other is for fitting over the end of the board.

Then I took the Dowel Kit and drilled out the two guide holes that will help me consistently drill the holes in the 1"x6" board.  The reason that I use the dowel kit is to make sure I get a perpendicular hole.  If you have a drill press, just use that.

To attach this all together I clamped down the three pieces that form a "U" shape that will fit around the end of the 1"x6" board.  Then pre-drilled a pilot hole for the two screws (if you don't the wood will split, especially the head without the counter sink).  Then screwed them together.

Then I attached the oak piece to the other crossing piece.  Then attach that crossing piece to the "U" shape.

Step 4: Using the jig on the shelves

Picture of Using the jig on the shelves
IMG_6711.JPG
IMG_6718.JPG
IMG_6709.JPG
Tools:
Pencil
Tape Measure
Drill
Dowel drill bit and stopper from Kit
Bar Clamps
Sawhorses

Materials:
1"x6"x6' Pine (with or without knots, up to you, or any other wood for that matter)

Now that we have the jig this step is easy.  Take the drill bit that came with the dowel kit.  It cuts a flatter whole than a regular drill bit which is why I choose to use it.  Looking back, it probably would have been better to use the nice sharp drill bit so it wouldn't tear up the wood as much.  Anyways, stick the drill bit through the guide hole and so that 3/8" is stick out of the hole.  Now attach the bit stopper so that this will be the depth of the hole when drilled.

Clamp the jig to the end of the board (choose the worse looking side of the board since it will be on the bottom).  Now just drill out the two holes.  Move the jig to the other end of the board and repeat.

For the center, just find the center of the board plus 3/8" (the distance from the center of the guide holes to the edge of the oak piece).  Remove the bottom crossing piece of the "U" from the jig.  Line up the edge of the oak piece on your mark, clamp and drill.

Repeat on each shelf board.

Step 5: Cutting grove for steel cable

Picture of Cutting grove for steel cable
IMG_6776.JPG
IMG_6749.JPG
IMG_6750.JPG
IMG_6751.JPG
Tools:
Pencil
Tape Measure
Drill
Bar Clamps
Table Saw

Materials:
1"x6"x6' Pine (with or without knots, up to you, or any other wood for that matter)
Scrap pieces of 1"x4" wood
1" Drywall Screws
1 1/4" Drywall Screws

I used a table saw, but again you might be able to figure out a different way since this project allows for a fair amount of slop.

Since this wasn't a through cut, and was standing the board on end, and after talking with my brother (who is a professional cabinet maker), we came up with this.  I took some 1"x4" board and made a pusher out of it.  I had about 6" of it to the right of the blade, and the rest (maybe 3 feet) to the left.  I attached this to the miter gauge with the 1" screws.  Then I attached a smaller 1"x4" blocker piece to the pusher piece so it would allow me to push my 1"x6" piece against it to make my cuts at 1/2" (or the center of the hole.

I raised my blade up 15/16" and then cut the four holes on the end of the board.  Then I removed the small blocker piece so I could do the center holes.  Then I used the fence with a scrap board pushed up against it that I could remove after clamping down the 1"x6" shelf board.  This way the shelf board would move freely and there was no risk of binding.

Step 6: Sanding and Staining

Tools:
Palm Sander (I love this sander for how easy it is to install the paper taut)
Sawhorses

Materials:
150 Grit Sand Paper
Stain
Rags

Just sand it down to the smoothness you want.  I pay special attention to the ends of the boards so they won't soak up as much stain, keeping them lighter like the rest of the board.  This is probably the longest step.

Then just rag on the stain and wipe off excess.  Let dry.

Step 7: Steel Cables

Picture of Steel Cables
IMG_6745.JPG
IMG_6747.JPG
Tools:
Pencil
Tape Measure
Level
Heavy Duty Wire Cutters
Crimper (looks like bolt cutters, but instead of cutting, they crimp)

Materials:
about 38' of 3/32" steel cable
6 splicing fasteners for the steel cable
48 stopper fasteners for the steel cable
Heavy Duty Steel Hooks
Masking Tape

While you are waiting for the shelves to dry you can start working on the steel cables.

First put two hooks parallel to each other about 7' up on the wall installed upside down (this will keep the wires at the same starting point.  Next mark a line at each place you want a stopper.  From my diagram, I know that I have three of the back wires with stoppers every 9" for the 8 shelves.  Three front wires with the first stopper at 9 3/4" and the rest at 9".  Use a level to make sure the lines are straight across.  (Looking back I should have just installed the front wire hook 3/4" higher than the other.)

Next use the splicing fasteners to create a loop on the cable and crimp.  Hang the wire then cut off after the last line you drew for that wire (leave a little extra so you have some wire to attach the last stopper).  Repeat for the other 5 wires.

Next I used masking tape above and below the stoppers to hold them in place so they would be easier to crimp.  This way you can take down the wire and crimp, and not have to worry about lining stuff up.

Crimp all the stoppers then remove the tape.  I noticed that the crimper's 3/32" slot was much too small, so I just used the end of the crimper to do everything.

Step 8: Installation

Picture of Installation
IMG_6769.JPG
IMG_6753.JPG
Tools:
Drill
Level
Ladder if needed
Screw driver

Materials:
3 Heavy Duty Hooks

Start by finding the stud or top plate board to screw hooks into.

VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure that the hooks are attached to a stud or top plate!  Doubtful it will stay up otherwise.

Next use a level to make sure the hooks are level.  Install hooks, use a screw driver to help turn the hooks.

Hang the 6 wires, back ones go on first, then front ones.  Next install boards onto the stoppers by sliding the cable through the groove and setting the stopper onto the 3/8" holes.

Put stuff on shelves... and your done.

hmmmmmm, that looks like a T-Maxx on the floor.....
or a Revo... LOL
did you really just laugh out loud?
Iridium7 zwild15 years ago
 nah he LQTM. (laughed quietly to himself) more honest.
craineum (author)  phantom309oo75 years ago
You are both right... Highly modified Original T-Maxx, a Revo, also a Titan and an Ultra LX Pro (and a Mini T... etc...)
Hmmm...where did you "steal" the cable. LOL
craineum (author)  monstergramma5 years ago
:) Thanks...
blakelock5 years ago
hi all,
great idea to use the slot and sunken hole for the cables and washers.  that's a slick solution.  i'm sure the cables and the hooks in the studs are strong enough.  no problem there.  i think the weak point is the slot and sunken hole cut into the shelves.  i can imagine that small rectangular corner breaking off the shelf if enough load is on it.  it might be better to cut the slot as far away from the edge as possible (or aesthetically acceptable) and cut the slot with the grain of the wood.  then, the intact wood at the corner would go with the grain instead of against it and would be less likely to pop off.
again, sweet design.
craineum (author)  blakelock5 years ago
That is a good idea.  I mention somewhere in the build that 1/2 was not enough, but I had not thought about cutting the slot with the grain.

Thanks!
cyclohexane5 years ago
 Looks Awesome!!! I've thought about doing something similar but with all-thread instead of cables. Great Instructable!
With all thread you could adjust the shelves and use nuts or lock nuts as the stoppers.  Then you could drill a hole in the all thread to attach the cable to hang from the wall or some kind of cap  I think this would be more stable and even swing less.  Good Idea. 
craineum (author)  Hiroak5 years ago
Very true, good ideas.  Would probably try this next time.  Actually if you were to use short pieces of threaded rod and then some kind of extended nut for coupling it would be really easy to pack/put together and add more shelves at a later time.

Love this site!

Thanks guys!
jdege5 years ago
Did you do any strength-of-materials calculations?

DVDs are fairly light.  But once you put a shelf up, people tend to use it for whatever is convenient without thinking about what it was designed for.  Picture these shelves holding paperback books.  With that many shelves hanging from just three anchors, you could be talking about a significant load.

You said, in your instructions, to use "Heavy Duty Steel Hooks".  I'd second that.  This isn't a project where you'd want to skimp on the hardware. 

craineum (author)  jdege5 years ago
I did a little.  I know that the cable is about 900lbs break strength (now times this by 6 cables).  The hooks were a couple hundred lbs a piece (Will look this up tonight).  The shelves only have to carry the weight of what is on them.  So really it is up to the stud/top plate you are putting it into.  Which I don't really know what that strength would be?!?  Hope this answers the question.

Again though these shelves are hanging and can swing freely, so anything too heavy would be a bad idea to start with.
jdege craineum5 years ago
A six-foot shelf of paperback books weighs something like 80 pounds.  Six shelves would be 480 pounds.  The cable is easily strong enough.  The hooks might be a bit close, but you're probably fine there, too.  So long as you're screwing into the joists or top plate, and haven't hit a void or a knot.

The essential question is whether they are strong enough to hold whatever people some day trying to put on them.  If they feel flimsy, people won't stack them with heavy books.  In other words, they need to be stronger than they look.

I only ask because I always ask.  Not will they hold what you intend them to hold when you build them, but will they hold what someone else, years later, tries to pile on them?  Will they hold when a five-year-old tries to climb them like a ladder, to get something off the top shelf?  And will they not topple over on him when he does?

I don't have doubts about your construction, I just jumped in because I think that some discussion is warranted.

craineum (author)  jdege5 years ago
Discussion is warranted and welcome.  I like it when people make me think, it is the only way to improve.

As I have a 4 and 2 year old, I thought about the climbing issue, especially since they swing (and can be deemed fun).  I feel very confident they would hold a 50lbs 5 year old, not that I am encouraging that or anything ;)

On that subject my son ripped the label off the hooks that I got, so I need to head to Home Depot to check the load for sure.
lemonie5 years ago
Nice shelves, they do look solid.

L